Friday, 03 April 2009


Ken Berwitz

I don't put much stock in political polls.  But I do think there is some validity in the movement of a poll from one wave to the next. 

And when you look at the movement of polling for Barack Obama, it is now decidedly downward.  That is confirmed by the fact that mainstream media are no longer talking about his poll numbers.

Illustratively, last week the Zogby poll indicated that 49% gave President Obama's job performance a positive rating and 50% rated it negatively.  That was the first instance of a net negative rating for Mr. Obama. 

Zogby is a well respected, highly visible polling organization.  Its findings usually get a lot of media play.  But did you see a lot of it for these findings?  Me neither. 

It should be pointed out that Zogby's data show a highly aberrent result compared to just about everyone else (wouldn't that generate more, rather than less, media coverage?)   So let's look at some of the other polls and see where they're going:

-The latest Quinnipiac Poll shows Obama at 58% - 31%.  A month ago it was 59% - 25%. 

-The latest Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll shows Obama at 58% - 32%.  Two weeks ago it was at 63% - 26%.

-The latest Rasmussen poll shows Obama at 56% - 44%.  A month ago it was at 60% - 39%. 

-Yesterday's Gallup poll (today's comes out this afternoon) shows Obama at 61% - 29%.  A little over a month ago it was at 67% - 21%

What does this mean?  I don't know for sure (and neither do you, even if you think you do).  Poll numbers go up and down.  But one thing is undeniable:  Even with still-fawning adoration by mainstream media, major poll after major poll shows President Obama's poll numbers to be dropping.

I'll report on Mr. Obama's poll data again at a future date - maybe a month or so from now - to see where they are then.


Ken Berwitz

This comes from my pal Bob.  I guarantee you'll laugh:


A woman was helping her husband set up his computer.
At the appropriate point in the process, she told him that he would now have to enter a password. something he will use to log on.

The husband was in a rather amorous mood and figured he would try for the shock effect to bring this to his wife's attention.

So, when the computer asked him to enter his password, he made it plainly obvious to his wife that he was keying in... *PENIS *

His wife fell off her chair laughing when the computer replied: PASSWORD DENIED - NOT LONG ENOUGH*


Ken Berwitz

This blatant demonstration of The New York Times' bias comes to us from Lynn Davidson of  Please pay special attention to the part I've put in bold print:

NYT Ignores Free Speech Activist Yoani Sanchez; Focuses on Lefties

Ever notice the media love to report stories about people fighting the power, unless, of course, the power happens to be something the media favor?

A March 31 New York Times article about Cuba's Havana Biennial art festival highlighted several artists whose political statements were in line with the anti-American, communist outlook of the island's regime, while ignoring prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, who risked her freedom to protest government oppression.

During an open mic session at the festival, the award-winning Generacion Y blogger criticized Cuban policy and the lack of free expression. However, the Times did not mention her pro-free speech performance art or even cover it in a separate piece. Instead, most of the artists the paper described railed against the usual evils, such as capitalism, America and the bourgeoisie.

Afterwards, the government issued a condemnation that singled out Sanchez for staging a provocation against the Cuban Revolution. Fortunately, on Wednesday, Reuters reported the controversy:

The (government) statement described Sanchez, without using her name, as a "professional dissident" and one of a number of "individuals in the service of the anti-Cuban propagandistic machinery that repeated the worn-out claims for 'freedom' and 'democracy' demanded by their sponsors." (snip)

The event was part of a performance by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, who put up a microphone at an arts centre in Old Havana and told people in attendance they could say whatever they wanted for one minute.

Participants were flanked by two actors dressed in olive green fatigues. A white dove was placed on the shoulder of each speaker in an apparent parody of a famous speech by Fidel Castro.

Sanchez then read a manifesto saying the Internet was opening a 'crack' in government control and further stated, The time has come to jump over the wall of control.

In the past, this type of demonstration landed Cubans in jail, or worse, but so far, the well-known Sanchez has just been denounced by the government instead of facing the same repercussions as the imprisoned Oscar Elias Biscet.

Sanchez wasn't just some random speaker at the festival. She is known around the world as an outspoken critic of the Cuban government. She is frequently in the news, and has won much recognition through her widely-read blog. Among her many awards, Time magazine designated her in 2008 as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. That same year, Foreign Policy magazine included her on its 10 Most Influential Latin American Intellectuals list. She was named one of Time's Best 25 Blogs of 2009 and has won many other awards as well.

Now, maybe the Times didn't see Sanchez's or the other freedom protesters' performances during the open mic session, or perhaps it was unaware of Cuban government's statement. However, it is strange that a prominent activist using the arts to stand up to oppression didn't pique the interest of The Grey Lady. Usually, the paper relishes that type of story.

Instead of focusing on those who actually took a risk, the Times highlighted such edgy art as a piece showing Barack Obama as the fifth president on Mt. Rushmore, a parade that supposedly demonstrated that Cuba is freer than America and several works that critiqued wealth and capitalism.

The Times was not alone in its cold shoulder, though. Other than Reuters, the AP and the Miami Herald, Sanchez's protest was largely ignored by the rest of the major media. The Spanish-language press showed more interest in Sanchez's story. 

In other words, if Cubans condemn the USA just the way fidel castro would want them to, the Times considers it a news story. 

But if a Cuban dissident risks years in jail to speak against castro and his regime?  That isn't news at all.

Then they wonder why people call their reporting biased....


Ken Berwitz

What do you do when a franchiser suddenly pulls the rug out from under you after 23 years?

You sue.  And you probably lose.  Just ask Walid Elkhatib.

Ameet Sachdev of the Chicago Tribune explains:.

Dunkin' Donuts operator gives up franchise in pork battle

Standing up for his beliefs

Walid Elkhatib refusal to handle or serve pork has resulted in having to give up his Dunkin' Donuts franchise. "What is life without dignity and your beliefs?" he told a reporter in 2007. (Tribune photo by Candice C. Cusic / July 30, 2007)

An Arab-American owner of a Chicago-area Dunkin' Donuts store has to give up his franchise after he lost his long-running legal battle with the restaurant chain over his religious objections to selling pork products.

A lawyer for Walid Elkhatib said Tuesday that his client is in the process of removing Dunkin' Donuts signs from his Westchester outlet, but apparently not fast enough for the company.

Dunkin' Donuts went to federal court in Chicago on March 27 to stop Elkhatib, 59, from using the company's trademarks and other proprietary materials.

The company's lawsuit came two weeks after a federal jury found that the chain did not discriminate against Elkhatib for refusing to renew his franchise agreement because he declined to sell breakfast sandwiches with bacon, ham or sausage.

Yes, it is true that when he opened his Dunkin' Donuts shop in 1979, he neither asked for nor got any special dispensation on pork products.  But why would he have asked?  He was opening a donut shop, not a meat market.
When Dunkin' Donuts introduced breakfast sandwiches in 1984, that was the time to settle this issue.  If the company insisted Mr. Elkhatib sell them it would have been on at least somewhat solid ground. 
But when Dunkin' Donuts agreed to allow Mr. Elkhatib to forgo pork products, that changed things completely.
The company allowed Mr. Elkhatib to decline those sandwiches for 18 years , and then it suddenly told him to revert to the original rules or get lost.  Unbelievable, but true. 
This may be legal in a technical sense.  But it is not at all fair or just.
Walid Elkhatib refused to compromise his beliefs and knuckle under to Dunkin' Donuts.  That shows both courage and principle.
I hope Mr. Elkhatib prospers in the non-Dunkin' Donut incarnation of his shop -- and has a halal of a good business for years to come.


Ken Berwitz

From -- along with the excellent links she provides:

Breaking: Ward Churchill verdict reachedmixed; $1 awarded for damages

By Michelle Malkin    April 2, 2009 06:24 PM

In Denver, the verdict in the Ward Churchill trial was just read.

The jury found that University of Colorado terminated him based on his speech, but awarded him $0 for past economic harm and $1 for current damages.

Caplis and Silverman, lawyers who have followed the case closely and host a top talk show on 630KHOW, say it should be seen as victory for CU. Interpretation: Jury found him to be an academic fraud undeserving of restitution.

Denver blog Slapstick Politics has liveblogging. More coverage at Complete Colorado.

And from fraud-busting blog Pirate Ballerina, a definitive analysis blasting CUs botched defense:

Since weve made no effort to hide our contempt for CU attorney Patrick ORourkes mishandling of his defense of CU, it should come as no surprise to our readers that we now lay CUs defeat directly at ORourkes clown shoes. Churchill did not win this case; ORourke lost it. And since all problems can be traced back to management, CU is the ultimate perpetrator of this four-year (some would say 20-year) farce.

CUs Achilles heel has always been its own sloth and incompetence, in the hiring process, the investigatory process, and finally, in the legal defense process. CU administrators were aware that Churchills scholarship qualifications consisted of a few mostly co-authored screeds on the usual leftist memes, and a masters degree in a bonehead major from an experimental college, yet they hired him as an Ethnic Studies professor with tenure. And CU administrators were made aware of serious problems with Churchills version(s) of history long before the Little Eichmanns essay re-emerged from obscurity back in January 2005, yet they did nothing.

It took the public outrage surrounding that essay to finally goad CU into action, putting into motion a process that lasted four years. Churchill had every opportunity to present his case, and in every instance he failed. His termination back in 2007 was the result, as was his inevitable suit against CU, the conclusion of which we have before us today.

Once the initial public outrage faded, unfortunately, CU returned, to its happy place: sloth and incompetence. During the trial, David Lane used CUs own witnesses to illustrate those qualities, and CUs attorney, Patrick ORourke was unable to counter Lanes sallies simply because ORourke exemplifies CUs commitment to sloth and incompetence. Perhaps he is a shark feared by medical litigants worldwide, but in a civil rights case with a very obvious villain (and admittedly a less-than-sympathetic good guy), ORourke was hopelessly outmatched.

And so, of course, Churchill won. It is a sad commentary that CU was unable to defeat a documented plagiarist and historical fraud, but we consider it the inevitable result of decades of sloth and incompetence. As others have noted with elegant simplicity, CU deserves Churchill. The question Colorado voters (and CU alumni) must now ask themselves is equally simple: Does CU deserve their support?



Ken Berwitz

Why can't they just tell us the truth?  Why do they lie to our faces? 

Here is the beginning of an Associated Press article, posted yesterday at 7:34 PM, on the roll call vote for President Obama's budget proposal:

House approves $3.6 trillion budget blueprint
Apr 2 07:34 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writers
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Democratic-controlled House approved a budget blueprint drawn to President Barack Obama's specifications Thursday and the Senate hastened to follow suit after administration allies rejected alternatives from liberals and conservatives alike.

The vote in the House was 233-196, largely along party lines, for a $3.6 trillion plan that includes a deficit of $1.2 trillion.

Speaking bluntly, that description is a lie. 

The American Heritage dictionary (and others) defines "largely" as meaning "For the most part; mainly."

Thus using the phrase "largely along party lines" suggests that, while most house members voted along party lines, there was a good deal of crossover on both sides as well. 

But this presents a bit of a problem, since not one Republican voted for the Obama budget. Zero.  And 20 Democrats voted against it. 

If the article's second paragraph had any honesty, would have read something like "The budget received no Republican support at all.  Twenty Democrats broke ranks and voted with the Republican minority, but not enough to prevent its passage"

Now fast-forward to this morning's AP article on the same subject.  Here is how it starts:

House, Senate OK Obama-friendly budget plans

No Republicans give support for either spending blueprint

updated 2:09 a.m. ET, Fri., April. 3, 2009

WASHINGTON - Acting in quick succession, the House and Senate approved budgets Thursday night drawn to President Barack Obama's specifications and pointing the way toward major legislation later this year on health care, energy and education.

"It's going to take a lot of work to clean up the mess we inherited, and passing this budget is a critical step in the right direction," Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said. "Staying true to these priorities will help turn around the economy for the many Americans who are underwater right now."

No Republicans in either house supported the budgets and GOP leaders accused Democrats of drafting plans that would hurt the recession-ravaged economy in the long run, rather than help it, as well as saddle future generations with too much debt.

"The administration's budget simply taxes too much, spends too much and borrows too much at a moment when we can least afford it," said the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.

Notice a slight difference?  Like the usage of facts instead of fantasy regarding the roll call vote (which, for the house vote, was just as available when the first version was written)?

I can only guess why the Associated Press went from BS to reality.  Maybe there was an outcry about the bogus nature of its first article.  I hope so.

Regardless of what caused it, however, the fact remains that the AP's first version, the one that went out all over the world, was a dishonest account which suggested there was a level of bipartisan support for the bill which did not exist.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.

Zeke During the days of the USSR, under communism, there was a two car race between a Ford and a Russian Zil. The Ford finished 2 laps ahead of the Zil. Pravada reported the race: In a hotly contested match, the American car finished next to last, the Russian Zil finished second. (04/03/09)

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